Creating 3D Presentations

In a typical architectural office, the method of modeling you choose often depends on the comfort level of those performing the work. You should, however, familiarize yourself with all three methods to have a variety of tools options.

There is no right or wrong way of creating 3D presentations and the last thing you want to do is to rely on only one method of modeling scenes. In the real world, you will use a combination of methods.

Think of it as buying a large set of mechanics tools. You get several cabinets (software packages), each with several drawers (menus and panels). Each drawer is filled with unusual tools (commands and modifiers). Until you familiarize yourself with as many tools as possible and have a feel for where they are and when best to use them, there is no way you can fix a car in a productive and cost-effective manner.

Even though you have the tools to model incredible detail, however, keep in mind that not all detail has to be modeled. Most 3D programs have the tools to create the illusion of 3D geometry when none exists and a productive office must know when it is appropriate to simulate complex geometry instead of modeling it.

Some 3D tools for simulating geometry are:

Bump Mapping

Opacity Mapping

Environmental Backgrounds

A couple of helpful books for anyone creating buildings and everyday household objects are the student or professional versions of Architectural Graphics Standards by Ramsey/Sleeper (John Wiley and Sons) and The Architect’s Portable Handbook by Pat Guthrie. For years the professional version of Architectural Graphics Standards has been the bible for architects and builders as a reference for the determining sizes of almost everything you can imagine from restaurant equipment, to sports field layout, to standard construction methods.